Press Release

ANNAPOLIS, MD (January 11, 2001) – Warriors in Maryland’s battle against childhood lead poisoning will continue to focus attention on the crucial environmental and health issue during the first "Rally for a Lead Safe Maryland," being held tomorrow, Friday Jan. 12 at the U.S. Naval Academy Officers’ Club, located at 2 Truxtun Road in Annapolis, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

A 9:30 a.m. press conference will update achievements of Governor Parris N. Glendening’s Initiative on Lead Poisoning Prevention, launch the Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning’s new "Safe at Home" campaign and announce the recommendations of the recently completed Lead Poisoning Prevention Commission report.

Students from Baltimore City’s Rayner Browne Elementary School will lead Maryland Department of the Environment Secretary Jane T. Nishida, Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Secretary Dr. Georges C. Benjamin, Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Secretary Ray Skinner and Baltimore City Mayor Martin O’Malley in the "We Want to be Lead Free" cheer to start the day. The rally will also present communities and organizations involved with innovative initiatives to create lead safe homes in Maryland.

Nationally, almost one million pre-school age children have dangerously high levels of lead in their blood which may result in poor school performance, inability to read, aggressive behavior, hearing loss or even mental retardation. In 1998, approximately 5,840 Maryland children were reported to have exposure levels high enough to inflict irreversible harm.

Last year, Governor Glendening and state legislators agreed to invest $50 million over three years into aggressive lead poisoning prevention initiatives across the state. That funding has led to greater enforcement, the hiring of more inspectors and new education campaigns on the issue.

[** The Naval Academy Officers’ Club is best accessed from Maryland Ave. or King George St. (MD 450) via Naval Academy Gate #3. Truxtun Road will be the first left after entering the academy grounds. ]